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England facing weight of history in semi-final clash with Sweden

Head coach Phil Neville, left, and his team react after defeat to the United States in the 2019 World Cup semi-final (John Walton/PA)
Head coach Phil Neville, left, and his team react after defeat to the United States in the 2019 World Cup semi-final (John Walton/PA)

England will look to improve on their record in major tournament semi-finals when they face Sweden on Tuesday at Euro 2022.

Here, the PA news agency looks back over England’s history at this stage.

England Women

Alyssa Naeher, left, saves Steph Houghton's penalty in the 2019 World Cup smei-final
Alyssa Naeher, left, saves Steph Houghton’s penalty (Richard Sellers/PA)

The Lionesses have exited the last three major tournaments at the semi-final stage, the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and Euro 2017.

Their overall record has seen them win two out of seven semi-finals, going on to finish runners-up at Euro 1984 and 2009.

Euro 1984

As a reminder of how far women’s football has come, the 1984 tournament was not granted official status and was played 35 minutes each way with a size four ball. England won their two-legged semi-final against Denmark 3-1 on aggregate and drew 1-1 on aggregate in the final against Sweden before losing 4-3 on penalties.

Euro 1987

Sweden were again England’s conquerors three years later, 3-2 after extra-time thanks to Gunilla Axen’s second goal of the match. There was no consolation to be found in the third place play-off, where Italy overcame Kerry Davis’ early penalty to win 2-1.

Euro 1995

England’s record in women’s Euros
England are into a sixth European Championship semi-final, with two wins (PA graphic)

With the two-legged format restored, England faced a mountain to climb after losing their first leg 4-1 to Germany. The eventual champions completed a 6-2 aggregate win despite early goals from Karen Farley in both games.

Euro 2009

After a 14-year wait, the Lionesses were back in last-four action and edged out the Netherlands 2-1 as Jill Scott’s extra-time winner added to Kelly Smith’s opener. However, they were hammered 6-2 by Germany in the final.

World Cup 2015

Aya Miyama and Fara Williams traded penalties before Laura Bassett’s unfortunate late own goal sent Japan through to the final. Another Williams spot-kick earned third place via a 1-0 extra-time win over Germany.

Euro 2017

Millie Bright, centre, appears dejected after the final whistle against the Netherlands at Euro 2017
Millie Bright’s own goal rounded off England’s Euro 2017 exit (Mike Egerton/PA)

Millie Bright’s late own goal capped a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands, who went on to win the title on home soil under Sarina Wiegman’s management in a more favourable omen for this year’s England side.

World Cup 2019

Ellen White scored but had another disallowed and Steph Houghton missed a penalty as England were beaten 2-1 by eventual champions the United States. They lost the third place play-off 2-1 to Sweden, with Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson on target before Fran Kirby replied.

England Men

Sir Bobby Charlton, right, scores against Portugal in the 1966 World Cup semi-final
Sir Bobby Charlton, right, scores against Portugal in the 1966 World Cup semi-final (PA)

On the men’s side, their first semi-final appearance remains the most important en route to World Cup glory in 1966.

It took until last year to reach another final and, like the women, their overall semi-final record reads won two, lost five.

World Cup 1966

Sir Bobby Charlton’s brace saw off Portugal 2-1 and set up un unforgettable final against West Germany, where Sir Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick secured a 4-2 extra-time win.

Euro 1968

England lost 1-0 to Yugoslavia in the semi-finals after Dragan Dzajic’s late goal before beating another since-disbanded world powerhouse, the Soviet Union, to third place.

World Cup 1990

Gary Lineker equalised after Andy Brehme’s goal to force extra-time and penalties against West Germany, but Bodo Illgner saved from Stuart Pearce before Chris Waddle blazed over.

Euro 96

Gareth Southgate walks away after his penalty was saved against Germany
Gareth Southgate walks away after his penalty was saved against Germany (Neil Munns/PA)

Deja vu struck, even against a now united Germany. Alan Shearer’s early goal was quickly cancelled out by Stefan Kuntz and, after a perfect 10 penalties, current coach Gareth Southgate’s weak effort was saved and Andreas Moller blasted Germany through.

World Cup 2018

Kieran Trippier’s early free-kick against Croatia cranked up the chants of ‘Football’s coming home’, but Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic had other ideas.

Nations League 2019

A lesser competition but a familiar near miss, England losing 3-1 to the Netherlands before beating Switzerland on penalties in the third place play-off.

Euro 2020

Harry Kane scored at the second attempt from an extra-time penalty to see off Denmark 2-1, but more penalty heartbreak awaited England and Southgate in the final against Italy.